Wesley Wins in First Round 45-17

Wesley Wins in First Round 45-17 - Nov 17, 2007

Box Score

DOVER, Del. - Wesley limited the nation's ninth-ranked offense 150 yards and three touchdowns under its season averages as the Wolverines caputured a 45-17 win in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championships.

Larry Beavers returned a kick for a touchdown, ran for a score and threw a touchdown pass.

Mike Pennewell turned in his ninth straight 100-yard game with 159 yards to lead the offense and Michael Clarke set the school record for receiving yardage in the win. 

Wesley tried to jump on the Tigers early when defensive end Gabe Tranchetti intercepted Corey Sedlar on the second play of the game to set the offense up at the visitor's 25 yard line.  A 15-yard run by Pennewell put Wesley inside the 10, but the drive stalled and Collin Blugis missed wide right.  The high-powered Hampden-Sydney offense marched 63 yards on 13 plays to set up a T.C. Stevens' 34-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead that lasted until the second quarter. 

The Wolverines, however, would go on to score 38 straight points, beginning with a six-yard run by Pennewell with 7:44 left in the half.  Blair Newman set up Wesley with a short field to start the drive, returning a 41-yard punt by Stevens 29 yards to the HSC 15.  Wesley quickly made it 10-3 a minute and 20 seconds later.  Sean Matthews forced Josh Simpson to fumble on the first play of the next drive and Carlos James recovered at the 28.  Four plays later, Blugis redeemed himself from 26 yards to extend the lead.

Wesley used a pair of scores to set up its final touchdown of the first half.  After Chet Turner deflected a pass on fourth and five at the Wesley 20 to get the offense the ball back, Jason Schatz hit Gene Knight for a short pass that turned into a 46-yard gain.  The next play, he hit Jon Lanouette on the sidelines for 30 more yards.  Schatz finished the drive from the one two plays later on a bootleg to his right and the Wolverines entered the half ahead 17-3.

The second half opened with a bang as Larry Beavers ran back the opening kick 78 yards for a score.  It was the third of his four touchdown returns this season that opened the third quarter. 

Beavers was involved in Wesley's next two touchdowns, as well, which put Wesley ahead 38-3 with 4:42 left in the third.  The wide receiver and Schatz switched places for a play and Beaver hit Schatz for a 28-yard touchdown pass.  Another Simpson fumble, recovered by Tim Stewart, gave Wesley the ball at the 28 to start the possession and the Wolverines scored on the first play for the 31-3 advantage with 8:58 left.

After the Wolverines took over after a Hampden-Sydney punt, Schatz and Clarke connected on a 41-yard strike to move to the Hampden-Sydney 10.  After a nine-yard run by Pennewell, Beavers ran it in from the one to give Wesley a 35-point lead.

Hampden-Sydney battled back for a pair of scores before the start of the fourth, however.  Sedlar led the Tigers on a seven-play, 66-yard drive, going 3-of-4 passing for 59 yards, the ran the final yard himself for the score.  As time expired in the period, he hit Connor Oliver for an eight-yard score on third and goal.

Neither team got on the scoreboad in the fourth quarter until Wesley's final score with 5:23 left in the game.  Pennewell rushed for 37 yards on the 10-play drive, and Aaron Jackson had 14 before Schatz hit Lanouette for the 10-yard touchdown. 

The Wesley defense held Simpson, who had rushed for over 1,000 yards in just seven games this season, to only 28 yards on 22 attempts.  The Wolverines held the Tigers to just five rushing yards on the day. 

The defense also consistently got pressure in the face of Sedlar, although quick drops held the Wolverines to a single sack.  Wesley, however, intercepted him four times and had 17 pass breakups, including eight by the defensive line.  While Sedlar through for 308 yards, he attempted 47 passes and completed just 23.  He was also intercepted four times. 

Chet Turner paced the Wolverines with seven tackles and five pass breakups.  He also forced a fumble.  Eddie Donisi had seven stops and an interception. 

Despite having just four tackles, defensive end Bryan Robinson had a big day.  He knocked down six passes at the line of scrimmage, had two tackles for loss, forced a fumble and was credited with a sack.

Jeremiah Santiago and Bobby Maguire also had interceptions.

Clarke finished the day with 2,300 yards exactly, eclipsing Duane Martin's 10 year old career mark of 2,248.  He tied Lanouette for the team-high with four receptions.  Schatz went 14-of-28 passing for 250 yards and two scores.  He was intercepted once. 

Wesley held the Tigers to just 2-of-15 on third down, while converting 7-of-16 themselves.  The also outgained Hampden-Sydney 558-313.

With the win, Wesley will face Muhlenberg in the second round at the newly renamed Miller Stadium on November 24.  The Mules knocked off the Wolverines' Atlantic Central Football Conference rival, Salisbury by a final of 31-21. 

Another 2007 Wesley opponent, North Carolina Wesleyan - who the Wolverines handled 27-24 on opening day - pulled off the biggest upset of the first round.  The eight seeded Battling Bishops downed the top seed in the South, Washington & Jefferson in double overtime.  N.C. Wesleyan outlasted the Presidents 35-34.  The win makes second-seeded Wesley the top remaining team in the region, meaning the Wolverines would have home field advantage through the regional final.